Theology discussion question: End Times

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Theology discussion question: End Times

Post by Admin on Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:22 pm

One of your student leaders just finished reading a book about prophecy and is convinced that Jesus is coming back within the next two months. They have been very vocal in spreading their convictions. How would you respond to this situation?

Your response should be at least one paragraph in length. Support your answer with some of the following elements: scripture, items from the reading, personal experience, and insights from other conversations or readings.

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Re: Theology discussion question: End Times

Post by kellyrenelantz on Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:40 am

Many people have tried to predict Jesus's return, and oftentimes they are focusing on the wrong thing. We will not know when He comes (Matthew 24:36), but we must be ready at any time. I would share this passage talk to this student about how they are presenting this, and how they are incorrect in this prediction. I think Bird summarizes it nicely when he says while we wait, we should focus on evangelizing, enduring, and encouraging. We should be motivated to share the Gospel with as many people as possible, because this is an urgent matter - we understand all will be judged before God and without accepting the Good News, you will live a life apart from God. I would encourage the student with this, and have them instead redirect their efforts to sharing the Gospel with others, rather than their predictions, because it has eternal value.

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How to deal with Freshman Spencer

Post by SHKelly on Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:24 am

I'm not gullible (which is a great first line Wink ), but I have been known to stoke the conspiracy pyre in a tongue-in-cheek way. So, my first posture would be to show grace, because I can relate to squinting at numbers and dates and theories. It is true that we should be watching and waiting, expecting the Lord to come, (Matt. 25:1-13, Titus 2:13), we should also know that Jesus taught that we don't know the "time or hour" (Matt. 24:36). All that being said, if the student's ravings are causing other students to be afraid, then I would first approach that person (Matt. 18) and ask them about their theory. I would show them how their thoughts are negatively affecting their peers and how end times in the Bible are associated with hope and encouragement, not fear, for believers anyway (1 Thess. 4:18; Titus 2:13). After that if they continue to spread their ideas, I would try to cycle through Matt. 18 until it comes to the decision point concerning their leading. A small group leader is a pastor, young and growing in grace, but is still put in the care of souls, and if their fear-mongering is endangering that, they need to be treated seriously.

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End Times Response

Post by matthewostermeyer on Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:25 am

I would affirm the truths that the student does believe about the promises of the coming Savior, the joy that comes from holding to that hope, and the need to share this message and joy with others. However, I would first talk to that student about what the Word of God (not a book) says about the day of the Lord. In Mark 13:32 Jesus says, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Then if we look at the writings of Paul to the church of Thessalonica we see a similar thought: “About times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3). These scriptures clearly indicate that no one, not even the Son of Man knows when the Day of the Lord will be. Not only this, but nowhere in scripture do we receive a command to investigate these matters. We do receive “The Parable of the Ten Virgins.” (Matthew 25:1-13). This parable does teach us how to prepare for the Day of the Lord. It simply tells expresses the importance of remaining in the Lord’s will, continually seeking his will, and keeping an alert mind for God’s will and of the plots of the enemy. In these ways you will prepare yourself for the Day of the Lord. However, even within this parable of teaching preparation for the Day of the Lord we are given no evidence to suggest when that day will be or that we should be searching for the answer to that question.
Another subject I would discuss with the student would be the historical evidence of individual after individual who have believed that the Day of the Lord would be at a specific time in our past. Many people have believed in a day being the Day of the Lord that has passed. Many others have held to the opinion throughout time that the Day of the Lord is imminent. Many in Paul’s time even believed this thousands of years ago and the authors of these writings even suggest this belief in their writings. However, they never declared it, they were simply in an alert state.

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Students and the End of Times

Post by Brittony on Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:29 pm

If a student was adamant about the second coming of Jesus, I think I would first need to humble myself to even begin talking to this student. It can become very easy for me to automatically have this sense of I know better and I’m going to show you how I know better in this matter. Even if this true, I wouldn’t want to present myself in a way that made it non-threatening. Then, I would want to have a one-on-one with the student to see the whole picture of what they believe and why they believe it. I would want to challenge their beliefs in this prediction as well as go through the scriptures in order to affirm the second coming but to also encourage the student to live in the hope of the second coming; I believe that’s to not predict when and where Jesus will be coming again as the scriptures say in Acts 1:6-7. As well as talk about Revelation, and what will actually happen when Jesus returns. I would want to encourage the student to be a believer who works earnestly, without fear of the second coming, and for this person to not put fear in their peers. As Michael Bird said on page 251, “…we have been crucified and buried with Christ so that we may walk in a newness of life. Both are present tense and future tense.” I would want this student to walk with Jesus in the here and now and not look to how much time we have left before he comes back. Even after Jesus comes back we’re going to be in a much better place and have much better everything. There will be no separation from him when he returns, and how amazing that will be. I feel that after several one-on-ones, I would want to address the other students who heard and listened to this other student. Addressing the significance of Jesus coming again, as well as, not humiliating the original student; this would be my ideal situation.

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Re: Theology discussion question: End Times

Post by DaneMiles on Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:22 pm

The first thing to affirm is that Christ *is* returning, and we ought to wait with joyous anticipation! The return of Christ will be glorious and delightful for the Church. However, in the midst of our excitement, we ought not place dates and times on the return. Jesus Himself said so (Matt 24:36, Mark 13:32). Since we do not know the hour of Christ’s return, there is no defensible way to advocate or vocalize a timeline. Doing so will only stir up confusion, or at worst, even dishonor and embarrassment. With all of this in mind, my response to the student would be three-part: 1) affirm that it is good to wait for the Lord’s return with joy! Dream of it, imagine it, praise God for it. It is a source of hope and excitement as followers of Christ. 2) Caution against making predictions, and gently correct the past behavior for the reasons stated above. 3) Encourage the brother or sister, as Paul in Ephesians, to build one another up in faith as we wait for the return. Give practical ways to live in a way that honors the Lord in the meantime, serve God, etc.

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Jesus is Coming Back in 2 Months

Post by lleeson on Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:57 am

To begin, I would start by talking to the student one-on-one. They are probably excited and want to share what they have learned, so I may start by just listening to them. Once they have explained their thoughts, I would ask some motivation questions to see what the motives are in sharing that Jesus is coming back in 2 months. I think some people who are very obsessed with end times are missing a large part of the gospel and reading into the statements in the Word about the end times not as they should be read. There may be fear (fear of unsaved friends going to hell, fear of what the rapture will be, etc.) in the person that is causing them to share their opinions and it would be important to address that and find why that fear is there. This would be a great time to use the “fruit to root” example in Gospel Fluency.

Besides understating the root, I think it would be good to just go through with them the passages they are reading that lead them to know when Jesus is coming back. Before going to outside sources, I would go to the Word and share passages that say we don’t know when Jesus will come back (Matthew 24:36, not even Jesus knows when He will come back! Who are WE to say that we know!). I may suggest they read our theology book on the end times, which may help them to see that there are so many thoughts and opinions about Jesus coming back and what they read on prophecy may not be the most accurate or only thought about Jesus coming back. Hopefully, with these many more resources, un-truths will be exposed and humility will grow.

I would say that those who obsess over the end times may covering up a deeper issue in the need to share and warn people that Jesus is coming back but I would also say they are missing the main point to why we have information about the end times. Rather than trying to count the days, we should be “making the days count” and live like Jesus could back at any second. How would I want Him to find me? Just warning others about Him coming? Or sacrificially living for others, falling more in love with God, and sharing the message of His kingdom with the world? I hope by helping them to see this would help them to take a step back from focusing so much on the end times but instead be motivated by knowing Jesus will come back and we have work to do while we are here.

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Re: Theology discussion question: End Times

Post by kkuriyama on Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:49 am

I may actually wait for the 2 months to happen so that s/he knows he's wrong(unless s/he was right!). Those leaders that are very passionate about these things tend to be hard to disciple.
I will definitely hear him/her out about why they have those convictions, talk about the author of the book that they read(and what kind of reputation they have), ask them not to be too passionate about sharing with others(I think sharing things people are passionate about is important and healthy!), and read through Matthew 24(and all its theories. Especially focusing on v.36) together(the book probably touched on that chapter anyways).
I don't like bringing people down, but I think if the situation is that the Lord is coming back in two months, the best prescription may be showing him/her how wrong it is to try to predict a day for any type of "day of the Lord." But I would definitely praise their passion for wanting to spread the gospel to people because of his/her convictions. "If today you hear His voice, do not harden your heart."

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Re: Theology discussion question: End Times

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